When USPS does not deliver in rural areas?


I’m sure that I have sent books to rural areas before where customers have had to go to the post office to pick up but I have never experienced this new scenario.

A customer ordered a book (as a third party I have come to find out) and paid for expedited shipping. I sent the package Priority mail the same day as the order came in. It took two days to get to an Alabama post office. The delivery confirmation indicates it’s arrival and that it is available for pickup. It appears that no delivery attempt was made as I can gather by the rural nature of the area (I googled it) and the short hours of the post office being open that rural delivery probably is not provided.

The third party has now contacted me demanding that the package be delivered to the doorstep of his customer. I have attempted to contact the post office with no success. I have suggested to him that his customer make a trip to the post office to pick it up but he says that is not satisfactory and that he wants it delivered to her house.

He reiterates the Amazon policy that the package be delivered to the doorstep of the customer. He is also demanding that I send another book overnight (I don’t have another copy) if the post office won’t make the delivery.

I did contact Amazon and they have opened a case for me. Their advice is to get the package returned to me and after I receive it, I can refund the cost of the book but not shipping. That would be fine with me but I have a feeling that he will not be happy with that option. I suppose he could really make my life miserable with A to Z and negative feedback. She said that Amazon will acknowledge the fact that I have made every effort to correct the situation and probably rule in my favor but who knows??

Other than going to Alabama myself and delivering it to her doorstep, I don’t see this ending in a good way.

Anybody else out there experienced a similar situation?

"DO NOT SHIP USPS!" in shipping address

Ask them to go to USPS.com/redelivery and see if they would deliver to their front door.


Yeah, there are places where the USPS does not deliver to the address. I know a lady who lives in a village in Ohio where they have the same situation - no mail delivery to the address; they have to go to the Post Office to pick up their mail.


Yes, that was Amazon’s suggestion not to refund shipping but I agree that I don’t want to risk negative since right now I have been able to maintain 100% after 5 years of selling.

I wish Amazon had something in their policy about rural delivery not being available. This issue really does fall between the cracks!


The redelivery option sounds interesting although since it appears that they don’t deliver at all, they may not be interested in driving out to the house and deliver out of the kindness of their heart!


Is there really an Amazon policy that your package will be delivered to your doorstep? That doesn’t seem right.


Is he another seller on Amazon selling books? If so it wouldn’t be in his best interest to leave you bad feedback. Is he a drop shipper on Amazon? Call Seller support and find out. It may help you on what to do next. Also how rural can it be? They don’t get mail where they live? I’ve never heard of that.

Edited by: Express Wireless USA on Apr 5, 2014 6:38 PM


Actually I did find within Amazon’s policy (which this buyer seems to be banking everything on) that states the deifinition of delivery time as time when delivered to the customer “doorstep”.

This is the link:

I just can’t believe that Amazon has such simple terminology for what can ultimately be a very varied situation such as this case.

I think that if delivery was attempted, it would so state that on the USPS delivery tracking site. It was delivered there on April 4th at 9:07, sorting complete at 9:41 and available for pickup at 10:03 AM. Plus the post office is only open until 12 noon. Seems like kind of a rural place to me!


This is why I sell as FBA. It is a headache I don’t need.



If the recipient is too lazy to go to the PO and pick up the book, call that PO and ask that it be returned. If there was no USPS delivery available, customer should have told you up front.

I don’t think you have a choice but to get it back. Not sure what I would do about the ship cost. In your case, I’d probably refund the entire amount rather than risk an AZ. I’m sure the customer will leave a neg, but you might be able to get Amazon to remove that, since you folllowed policy.

Sometimes these things happen and it’s a no-win for the seller.


Well, the sold/ship email says “Keep in mind you are responsible for the item until it reaches the buyer at the address provided in your seller account.”

Now, common sense would suggest that if the buyer isn’t available to accept delivery at that address, and the carrier holds if for pick-up, the buyer should pick it up. But common sense and Amazon, well, . . . .


Call the post office and see what they say about that address. Ask if they deliver there or not.


you are certainly correct that amazon says “doorstep” …i guess they expect book-sellers to use UPS or Fedex in these situations.

Luckily, most people who live in areas where the USPS will not deliver mail to residences are aware of the fact that they need to go to the p.o. periodically and get their mail, so this type of problem is not common.

The actual buyer is holding you to the “letter of the law” , so it will be interesting to see if amazon cares to clarify what it really expects media sellers to do, as shipping other than media mail would often be cost-prohibitive.


Yeah, there’s a few notorious ones out there that are a slimy, but for the most part they’re not too much a problem. Most of us just like the sale, but there are a few that can cause problems. Since you can’t block buyers and too many cancellations can screw up your metrics, there’s really not much you can do to prevent a drop-ship order.

If your packing slip has no price, I would ignore the request and include it–it’s a requirement of Amazon anyway and it can protect you and the end-recipient if for some reason the shipping label is destroyed or rendered illegible–they’ll look for a packing slip with the addresses to either deliver or return to sender.

Your buyer is way over the top and I would not give into any of his demands. If he threatens you with neg FB–file a report with Amazon. Good luck.


You shipped to the address provided. There’s really not much else to do there.

I had a customer last week notify she hadn’t received my shipment, but she verified the address was correct. Once she realized I sent it USPS, she realized she didn’t give me her PO Box & the mail didn’t deliver to her house. I did reship to her PO Box & she acknowledged she received it today. (I know some will frown on that, but I could see the original package is indeed on its way back to me.)

Aside from that, I too live in an area where we have no mail service. It does become problematic when ordering online because you just don’t know whether or not to use the street address as many do utilize UPS or FedEx as well. Our local post office told us that all remote post offices are aware of how this works. I was advised to put my street address, with just the box number as if it were an apartment number. The local post office then knows to hold it to and attach delivery to the PO Box. Much like it sounds in the mentioned scenario. Living in this situation…I am well aware they are not going to deliver to my doorstep & I must pick it up.

I believe the receiver is likely privy to this if they live in a remote area as well. Your buyer on the other hand is just being a p.i.t.a. because they are not familiar with the process.


I don’t believe there is any Amazon rule about must deliver to customers front door. The third party is giving you a boatload of carp.

I have not had mail delivery where I live in over 30 years. There are a lot of small towns in the U.S. where mail is not delivered to the door. USPS gives you a free mail box at the nearest post office. Any packages or large items that do not fit in the box you have to pick up at the window during regular hours.

On the other hand I know of at least one mail carrier, who delivers to a friends house, who is too lazy to get out of her truck and leave a package, she just puts a “attempted to deliver” notice in the mail and takes off. Your buyer may get may delivery but wasn’t home at the time or has a lazy carrier.

I’m sorry you’re in this mess. I would request the PO send the book back and refund the third party without shipping. But you may have to take a hit.

Edited by: Lyn14 on Apr 5, 2014 7:21 PM

Edited by: Lyn14 on Apr 5, 2014 7:24 PM


Whatever you do do NOT issue a refund until the package is back in your hands. If you issue a refund while the package is at the post office they can (and probably will) still pick it up after the refund - then you’re screwed with no recourse to get your money or item back. Wait til you get it back to issue a refund.

Most likely this customer knows of the delivery issues with the address. They simply use this as leverage to get free stuff/discounts out of scared sellers. Don’t give in to any demands from them… chris


> Most likely this customer knows of the delivery issues with the address. They simply use this as leverage to get free stuff/discounts out of scared sellers. Don’t give in to any demands from them… chris

Doubtfully. The OP stated the ‘customer’ is a “third-party”. It’s a drop-shipper who probably messed up–had a ‘stock out’ or some nonsense and now they’re trying to protect their own hide. The end recipient with an undeliverable address is probably innocent in this scenario.


Sometimes, mail delivery is refused to a given address even when it is on a rural route.

Our local post office will not deliver packages to one of my neighbors because of a history of claims of stolen mail.

He gets his letters but he must pick up all packages at the PO.


We inform the 3rd party, drop shipper - whatever you wish to call them - that we ALWAYS include a packing slip (as required by Amazon). We do not EVER include an invoice - they can be printed off the Amazon website. Prices are never on our slips. And then we ship. Period.

We’ve had one complaint about it in 11 years. Our reply was that we had ‘artfully’ marked out our store name so that the ‘third party’ wouldn’t b questioned about where the package actually came from. We’ve had repeat business from this customer; now that they know what we do, they don’t ask anymore. Great customer.

Do NOT refund until you get your item back. If they are selling on Amazon, report them for their crass behavior - it’s bad for all of us.

Edited by: lotzsahgoodbooks on Apr 5, 2014 8:43 PM

Edited by: lotzsahgoodbooks on Apr 5, 2014 8:44 PM